Time running out to secure place at Wiltshire’s primary schools

Children at Bulford St Leonard's primary school, part of Salisbury Plain Academies

Time running out to secure place at Wiltshire’s primary schools.

Parents of children who are due to start primary school next September are reminded that they have until January 15th to apply for places.

The deadline for all applications to be received is Monday 15th January 2018.

Tina Evans CEO of Salisbury Plain Academies an academy trust responsible for St Michael’s and Bulford St Leonard’s primary schools as well as Durrington Infants School says; “This is a really important time for families, and they need to take time to make the right decision for their child.”

She added; “Before deciding which schools to apply for, you really ought to try to visit the schools you are particularly interested in.

“Most parents will have a look at the schools’ websites and OFSTED reports, but it’s so important to make that effort to visit.

“There are normally open events, and if you’re not able to make those dates, most schools will be happy to show you around, just call the school and make an appointment.”

Although most children are given a place at their parents’ first choice school, this is not always possible if there are more applications for a school than there are places available.

The Council has an over subscription criteria, and advises families to provide preferences for three different schools, they say this provides families with the best chance of getting their child into a school of choice.

Wiltshire County Council website explains that if you want your child to attend their catchment school, you must include this as one of your preferences.

It is really important that you apply by the deadline of 15 January 2018. Applying after this deadline may significantly affect what’s offered.

Tina’s top 5 tips for choosing a school for your child

1. Visit as many schools as you can; make sure you get a good look around and go prepared with questions. Do you want somewhere that’s driven by academic results, or somewhere with a bit more creative flair? Ask yourself, what did the school feel like? Every school has a different feel, and if that feeling is an uncomfortable one, be mindful of your instincts.

2. Think about your child, how they learn, where they excel, and what they want – and make sure to discuss the choices with them. They might be little but they will have a favourite and you need to understand what that is, and why.

3. When you’ve made a shortlist, visit the school again; most schools will welcome you and offer you a tour irrespective of whether it’s an organised event – just call the school and make an appointment that works for you. Expect to be taken around the whole site, not just your child’s prospective classroom – the library might be stark of recent books, or uninspiring; the playground space might be insufficient for your energetic child; IT resources may not be up-to-date; look through books, are they marked and well presented? Only by seeing it all will you get an idea of the school as a whole.

4. Speak to the headteacher or principal and ask as many questions as you need to; it’s a big decision and you need to make sure that you are well informed. He or she is the face of the school, and should be a source of inspiration. Of course they will make a big deal about all of the school’s positives, but if you spot a negative, call it! Their transparency will speak volumes.

5. Speak with parents who already have children at the schools you’re interested in. It’s always worthwhile and they can give you a parent’s perspective about things like after-school clubs, school trips, and how the school deals with discipline.

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